5 Funny Chinese Mistakes to Avoid – Chinese Pronunciation Lesson

In Pronunciation by Angel Huang

Chinese has lots of words that are made up of the exact same sounds

But in many cases, they can be differentiated by their tones.

And while this is second nature to a native speaker... learners who are new to Mandarin often struggle to recall the correct tones and end up saying a different word than they intend.

In this video we look at 5 such mistakes and help you avoid them in future conversations!

Want to Master Chinese Tones?

Summary of this video lesson

hán yǔ 韩语: Korean language

hàn yǔ 汉语: Chinese language

Dialogue 1: “Can you teach me Chinese?”

Customer:

nǐ kě yǐ jiāo wǒ hán yǔ ma?

你可以教我语吗?

Can you teach me Korean?

Waitress:

bù hǎo yì si, wǒ bù huì hán yǔ.

不好意思,我不会韩语。

Sorry, I can't speak Korean.

Customer:

a!?

啊!?

Uh!?

nǐ shì zhōng guó rén. 

你是中国人。

You're Chinese. 

nǐ bù huì hán yǔ!?

你不会语!?

You can't speak Korean!?

Waitress:

wǒ yào xiū xi!

我要休息!

I need a break!

The Correct Tones

Customer:

nǐ kě yǐ jiāo wǒ hàn yǔ ma?

你可以教我语吗?

Can you teach me Chinese?

Waitress:

kě yǐ.

可以。

Yes, I can.

gǒu 狗: dog

gòu 够: engouh

Dialogue 2: “I have eaten enough” / "I ate enough"

Customer:

wǒ chī gǒu le.

我吃了。

I ate (the) dog.

Waitress:

shén me!?  nǐ chī gǒu le!?

什么!? 你吃了!?

What!? You ate (the) dog!?

The Correct Tones

Customer:

wǒ chī gòu le.

我吃了。

I ate enough.

Waitress:

hǎo de.

好的。

That's good.

wěn你: kiss you

wèn你: ask you

Dialogue 3: “May I ask you..?”

Customer:

hēi! wǒ kě yǐ wěn nǐ ma?

嘿! 我可以你吗?

Hey! May I kiss you..?

Waitress:

a!? 

啊!?

Huh!?

bǎo ān,zhè lǐ yǒu zhuàng kuàng!

保安,这里有状况!

Security guard, we've got a situation here!

The Correct Tones

Customer:

hēi!wǒ kě yǐ wèn nǐ ma?

嘿!我可以你吗?

Hey! May I ask you..?

Waitress:

kě yǐ, nǐ wèn ba!

可以, 你问吧!

Yes, go ahead and ask.

mài 卖: sell

mǎi 买: buy

Dialogue 4: “I would like to buy coffee beans”

Customer:

nǐ hǎo! wǒ mài kā fēi dòu.

你好!我咖啡豆。

Hello! I (would like to) sell coffee beans.

Waitress:

wǒ men bù xū yào. xiè xiè, zài jiàn!

我们不需要。谢谢,再见!

We don't need it.  Thank you and goodbye!

Customer:

a!? wǒ mài kā fēi dòu.

啊!? 我咖啡豆。

Huh!? I (would like to) sell coffee beans.

Waitress:

yòu shì tā!

又是他!

It's that guy again!

The Correct Tones

Customer:

nǐ hǎo!wǒ mǎi kā fēi dòu.

你好!我咖啡豆。

 Hello! I (would like to) buy coffee beans.

Waitress:

hǎo de,kā fēi dòu zài zhè lǐ.

好的,咖啡豆在这里。

Ok, the coffee beans are here.

tāng 汤: soup

táng 糖: sugar

Dialogue 5: “Do you have sugar?”

Customer:

hēi! yǒu tāng ma?

嘿!有吗?

Hey! Do you have soup?

Waitress:

bù hǎo yì si, wǒ men méi yǒu tāng.

不好意思,我们没有汤。

Sorry, we don't have soup.

Customer:

a!? 

啊!?

Huh!?

kā fēi guǎn méi yǒu tāng!?

咖啡馆没有!?

A café that doesn't have soup!?

bù shì ba!?

不是吧!?

Really!?

Waitress:

shì a! wǒ men méi yǒu tāng.

是啊!我们没有汤。

Right! We don't have soup.

Customer:

zhēn de méi yǒu tāng ma?

真的没有吗?

You really don't have soup?

Waitress:

wǒ men zhēn de méi yǒu tāng. 

我们真的没有汤。

We really don't have soup.

wǒ yào xiū xi!

我要休息!

I need a break from this!

The Correct Tones

Customer:

hēi!yǒu táng ma?

嘿!有吗? 

Hey! Do you have sugar?

Waitress:

dāng rán yǒu, gěi nǐ.

当然有,给你。

Sure. Here you are.

Customer:

xiè xiè!

谢谢!

Thank you! 

Waitress:

bù kè qì!

不客气!

You're welcome!

Want to Master Chinese Tones?